Ultimate Fighter " 30 " Hillsboro, Illinois
WHAT MAKES HIM TOUGH Matt Hughes was destined for fighting glory. He was a two-time Illinois state high school champion, a two-time junior college All-American, and a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler. Though he stands only five-foot-nine and weighs only 170 pounds, the five-time defending Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight world champion is making it nearly impossible for UFC fight coordinator Joe Silva to do his job. "I don't want him fighting people that aren't real challenges," says Silva. "It's not that he'd just win -- he'd freakin' wreck them. Without a doubt he's the toughest fighter pound for pound in this sport." To win his belt at UFC 34, Hughes knocked former world champ Carlos Newton unconscious after slamming him against the mat. For his fifth defense, against Frank Trigg, Hughes jumped like a tree monkey onto Trigg's back, choking him until Trigg fell over backward and tapped out so the referee would stop the fight. When Hughes isn't training for a fight, he still manages to put in 15-hour days on the family farm he grew up on, running the combine and tilling corn fields. But when he is training, he's all business. A month out from a match he's been known to do sets of 110 leg presses with 450 pounds on the rack, sprint quarter-mile hills 14 times in a row with barely a rest, and fight fresh fighters one after another for five straight rounds.
EYEWITNESS "The last six guys he's fought have all been killers, with very good credentials, and he's just crushed them," says Joe Silva. "He beats them up badly."